Is it possible to improve the relationship with the mother-in-law? If one were to go by the stereotype projected by pop culture, soaps and movies, it seems like an unattainable feat. The mother-in-law is projected as a rare species of pure evil willing to go to any lengths to bring down her children’s spouses.
However, this stereotype is as far removed from reality as can be, and we can only thank the stars for it. Of course, there are a few extreme cases where women get dealt a bad hand and spend decades of their life coping with the inhumane treatment meted out to them by their in-laws. That said, you cannot act from a point of prejudice and still hope to bond with your mother-in-law. Remember you’ve got to give love to get love.
Why You Should Work to Improve Relationship With the Mother-in-Law?
Of all the new relationships that come as a package deal with marriage, the one with the mother-in-law is the trickiest. Two women sharing a place of importance is one man’s life is bound to bring some undercurrent of tension. Understanding that her son moving on to the next phase of life can be a difficult transition for a mother is the first step toward building a bond with your mother-in-law.
Most mothers dedicate a big part of their lives to raising their children.
When the nest begins to feel empty and another person takes precedence over them, they find it difficult to adjust to the new normal. While the onus to improve the relationship with your mother-in-law isn’t squarely on you, doing it anyway can be beneficial for everyone involved.
Here are some of the key benefits of trying to show love to mother-in-law and winning her heart:
1. You find a mentor in your mother-in-law
It’s a new home with new rules, traditions, customs and norms. Navigating the family dynamics all by yourself can be a confusing journey. However, once you win your mother-in-law’s heart, you’ll find in her a mentor who will guide you at every step of the way.
2. You strengthen your bond with your spouse
It’s not as if your spouse will despise you or hold it against you if you don’t show love to your mother-in-law. But on some level, they’d want things between the two loves of their life to work out well. By working on building a bond with your mother-in-law, you can strengthen your bond with your spouse.
3. She’ll be there for your children
If you think marriage is hard, wait until the hurricane of parenting sweeps you over. You will need all the support and guidance you can get when bringing up children. If you improve your relationship with the mother-in-law, you find in her a strong parenting ally you can count on. Once you have each other’s back, she’ll no longer indulge in oneupmanship by telling you repeatedly how she did a better job of raising kids.
Related reading: 7 ways your parents often give you relationship goals
4. You find a supportive friendship
It may seem unlikely to many, but once you win you mother-in-law’s heart, you will have her love and support forever. As two women who have found their feet in the same household, you can develop a unique friendship that’s built on support and understanding.
5. You create a happier home environment
Whether you live in the same house, across the street from each other or in different parts of the world, your mother-in-law and you will always be part of the same family. When you improve your relationship with your mother-in-law, you create a happier home environment for everyone.
There is no undercurrent of tension, no bickering, no snide remarks and judgment. Everyone can relax and be themselves, have a good time whenever you’re all together.
10 Tips to Improve Relationship with Mother-in-Law
Yes, those initial days of being around your in-laws are awkward. The apprehension of being judged, misunderstood or inadvertently offending someone keeps your guard up at all times, interfering with your abilities to just be yourself.
Give it time and put in some effort from your end, and soon you’ll establish a rapport with members of this newfound family.
Of these, striking a bond with mother-in-law can seem the most daunting. Given that this woman is responsible for bringing into this world the person you cherish the most and raising them to be the person they’re today, you’ve got to at least try. We bring you these 10 practical tips to improve your relationship with mother-in-law:
Related Reading: How To Talk To Your Husband When The Other Woman Is His Mother
1. Love her child to show love to your mother-in-law
Remember that she loves her son or daughter more than anything else in the world. The easiest way to win your mother-in-law’s heart is to give her the reassurance that you value and love your spouse with all your heart. Considering that you’ve chosen this person to be your life partner, this should come naturally to you. When she sees that you make his world a happier place and you share a strong bond, she’ll naturally warm up to you.
2. Teach her new things to win your mother-in-law’s heart
Be it using social media or making skype calls, online shopping or internet banking, there is a whole world out there that seniors struggle to make sense of. You can use it as an opportunity to bond with your mother-in-law by teaching her these things and helping her wherever she gets stuck.
3. Share your problems to improve relationship with your mother-in-law
Remember how you ran to your mother for advice for life problems, no matter how big or small. Well, your mother-in-law has the same life experience, so tap into that wealth of wisdom by reaching out to her for solutions to whatever it is that’s weighing on your mind and listen to what your mother-in-law says.
It’s a great way to let her know that you respect and value her. What could be a way better way to improve the relationship with your mother-in-law. Besides, it’ll help her see the real person behind that bahu (or damaad) persona.
4. Include her in your social life to make your mother-in-law feel valued
Want to show love to your mother-in-law? Start by making her feel wanted. Asking for her participation in your social life can be a good start point. Now, we’re not suggesting you go pub crawling with her unless, of course, she enjoys that occasional drink. Asking her to join in when your friends visit or becoming involved with her circle of friends can really break the ice between you two.
We promise she won’t stop gushing about how lucky she’s to have you.
5. Give importance to her opinions
Respecting her and valuing her opinions is a vital step to improve your relationship with the mother-in-law. Ask for her opinion and trust her judgement when making decisions, big or small. Remember how you didn’t always agree with what your mother told you or even like some of her ideas but went along anyway because ‘mama knows best’. Well, give that a chance with her too and all the unwarranted grudges will go right out of the window.
6. Do more stuff together to improve relationship with your mother-in-law
Going to the movies together or taking her out for coffee or shopping will present you with opportunities to bond with your mother-in-law. If she loves reading, you can take her to a bookstore. Or simply go out for a stroll with her every now and then. If you live in different cities, show her around when she comes visiting.
When relatives come visiting, you can both prepare meals together. This would make for a great bonding opportunity. Or ask her to take you to a new store or restaurant when you visit her. Try to build a friendship and you can improve your relationship with the mother-in-law with ease.
Related reading: How to identify if you are dating a man or a boy
7. A simple call can go a long way in taking care of your mother-in-law
Wondering what needs to be done for taking care of your mother-in-law? Well, something as simple as calling her regularly can go a long way in making her feel valued and cared for. Remember, as children become occupied in their own lives and parents age, they grapple with the empty nest more and more. This becomes even more imperative if you live separately. Elders do not like to be left out from their children’s lives.
The distance makes it even more unbearable. You have to try and neutralise this.
8. Share anecdotes about your spouse to bond with your mother-in-law
The one common thread that binds you two together is your spouse. The person you share your life with is also the person your mother-in-law has devoted a better part of her life to. If you want to bond with your mother-in-law, you already have common ground to build upon.
Leverage this by talking to her about your spouse.
Share anecdotes, ask her about their childhood and she’ll be more than happy to regale you with endless stories. You could go through the family albums together, that’ll sure make for a great trip down the memory lane for the both of you and give you a chance to connect with each other.
9. Surprise her to show love to your mother-in-law
Who doesn’t love a good surprise! Anything from a surprise visit on her birthday or your parents-in-law’s anniversary to a gift that she’ll appreciate can melt her heart and make her feel a rush of affection for you.
10. Don’t compare her to your mother
The way a mother feels for her child cannot be replicated in any other relationship, no matter what. Comparing your mother-in-law to your mother, or her treatment of you to the way she treats her children is not only unfair but also treading on dangerous territory that will always leave you with feelings of inadequacy.
She is not your mother, don’t expect her to fill the place that’s already taken. Instead, try to build an independent relationship with her. With time and some effort from both sides, she can become a mother-figure who dotes on you and whom you adore for who she is.
Related Reading: Pati Patni Aur Woh! – When The Mother-In-Law Tags Along Everywhere!
Building relationships with in-laws is always tricky. You’ll find yourself struggling to maintain that fine balance between letting them in but not so much that it starts affecting your space with your spouse. Hang in there and give it your best shot, and you can cultivate a strong, meaningful connection with not just your mother-in-law but even the rest of the family.